John P. Gagen Passed Away At South Street Residence Early This Morning.
Rising from a poor boy to command of thousands. He shows what can be accomplished by hard work.
In the death of John P. Gagen which occurred at 3:15 0’clock this morning at the amily residence 1123 South Street, the year 1905 has taken one of Lafayette’s representative citizens. He had been ill for nine months and has been confined to his home for the past four months. From the first his illness was of a serious nature and what was a magnificent physique gradually wasted away. he was conscious up to the few hours before dissolution came and his passing was peaceful. He had been reconciled to his fate for some time and when the end came he was surrounded by all the family members of his family, except his daughter. Mrs. Charles (Maude) Muller, who is confined in Saint Elizabeth hospital. and her condition is such that she has not yet been notified of her father’s demise. Mr. Gagen’s death is attributed to complication of diseases. He leaves an estate valued at three hundred thousand. His was a busy life, always active and ambitious and full of energy. He was born of humble parents in Sandusky, Ohio December 13, 1848, and after receiving a common school education, he became a clerk in his father’s grocery store. At an early age, he displayed great business ability and for a time he sold groceries from a wagon direct to consumers through the country in vicinity of Sandusky, Ohio. This was his first business venture and it gave him his first start in the business world. He became an excellent salesman and added to his savings. In 1874 Mr. Gagen and his brother Thomas purchased the wholesale liquor house in the Purdue Block (Lafayette, Indiana) from Thomas Toberty. Thomas Gagen died in 1877 and John P. Gagen became sole proprietor of the establishment. The business grew steadily until the Gagen wholesale house became one of the largest in the state. Several years ago the firm was incorporated and John P. Gagen was elected president of the company. Thirty-five years ago in this city Mr. Gagen was united in marriage to Miss Addie (Adeline) Green (also spelled Greene) who survives this union. To this union seven children were born (also one more died at birth) four of whom are living. They are Grover Gagen, Misses Esther and Emma Gagen, Mrs. Charles (Maude) Muller. One daughter Grace died as the result of being hurt in a runaway in 1896 (buggy accident). Her death greatly affected the father and he never seemed to get it off his mind.
A Substantial Citizen.
Mr. Gagen was one of the city’s most substantial citizens. He was at all times alive to the interest of the city. He had faith in the future of Lafayette and was at all times willing to contribute his share toward bringing an industry to the city. He was one of the promoters of the belt railway and had stock in many factories in the new addition. He assisted in bringing the strawboard works to the city and was one of the first to sign his name for stock in the new stove foundry. He refused the presidency of the latter company, owing to his impaired health. He was for years a member of the Tippecanoe County Agricultural Association and was a lover of fast horses and fine cattle. He invested his money in real estate and was one of the largest individual taxpayers on property in Lafayette. He also owns a farm at Dayton and another at Montmorenci. He got pleasure out of his crops and it was his habit to visit his farms several times a week. Years ago the Gagen family spent the summer on the Montmorenci farm. Mr. Gagen was a man of strict business methods and his success in life can be attributed to his methodical system conducting business. He was a loyal citizen and his passing will be regretted by many. He was generous in a unostentious way and was a regular contributor to many charitable institutions. Mr. Gagen was a life long democrat but never sought an office. The following brothers and sisters survive: Joseph and Peter Gagen of this city, Mrs. John T. Kolb of Nevada, Missouri, Miss Lizzie C. Gagen of Saint Louis, Missouri, Mrs. Henry Emsing of this city, Mrs. Jacob G. Hagy of this city, Mrs. Edward Bloker of this city, Miss Rose Gagen of Muncie, Indiana, Henry Gagen, Miss Lucy Gagen, Mrs. Walter Smith, Mrs. William Dolan of Sandusky, Ohio, and Miss Etta Gagen of this city. The funeral will be conducted from the house at two 0’clock Thursday afternoon and the interment will be in Springvale Cemetery.
John Phillip Gagen was one of 18 children. His father had 8 children by his first wife. After she died he remarried and had 10 children by his second wife. John Phillip Gagen was one of the 10 children born to the second wife. For more information on John Phillip Gagen read Biography of Past and Present of Tippecanoe County, Indiana published in 1909. I have sent out a two- part translation of this work.
John Phillip Gagen enjoyed hunting with a shotgun from a buggy out at his farms. My grandmother Esther Loretta Gagen at this time would drive the buggy while her father shot from the buggy. It was on one of theses outings that the watch fob that her father gave her that grandma made into a necklace was struck by a .22 caliber bullet as she sat in the buggy. The bullet deflected off the glass of the compass side of the watch fob saving her life. As a child I admired this watch fob necklace. My mother inherited the watch fob with the stipulation that it is passed down the family to the oldest son. My son Dennis will inherit it then his son Mitchell. My Grandma Greenen (Esther Loretta Gagen Greenen) said that her father was a good poker player and taught her how to play the game. She taught me to play poker at age five. She would never play for money. We used matchsticks or toothpicks as chips. During Cousin Michael Deery’s youth, Grandma taught him to play bridge. She was a master bridge player. My grandmother said that she used to light her father’s cigars but she never smoked herself. She was the first woman to drive a car in Lafayette, Indiana. Their handyman David Power taught her to drive. Later he became a vaudeville magician and ventriloquist He performed at my 5th birthday party in 1946 as a special favor to grandma.
Greenen family history document page three of three pages of John Phillip Gagen’s obituary January 3, 1905 Lafayette, Indiana Tippecanoe County. He is the father of Esther Loretta Gagen Greenen married to John Joseph Greenen also known as Joseph J. Greenen.
Recorded June 14, 2001 by H. Andrew (Andy) Sauer
Son of Mary Esther (Greenen) Sauer
© 2001 Andy Sauer
All rights reserved